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Bemidji senior Maea Wall, right, out-maneuvers Hibbing’s Katelyn Staab during the second half of their game Friday afternoon. The Lumberjacks won 3-1. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

GIRLS SOCCER: Bemidji girls open season with win over Little Falls

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BEMIDJI — Logan Larsen made his debut as the Bemidji High School girls soccer coach Friday at home against Little Falls and his athletes made sure that the first game would be a memorable one.

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The Lumberjacks thumped Little Falls 3-1 at the middle school field.

Jacie Lalli sent the Jacks on the road to success as the freshman converted a feed from Maea Wall and found the net 16 minutes into the action. Rachel Bitter scored what proved to be the game-winner late in the first half when she struck from 18 yards away and Bemidji was on its way.

“This was a good way to start the year,” Larsen said. “Overall, I saw effort and commitment and that will determine how much we will improve during the season and how strong we will be.”

BHS also held a territorial edge in the second half and during the 80 minutes the Jacks sent 39 shots toward the Little Falls net. Not all of them were on target but the total number of shots reflected Bemidji’s offensive advantage.

About four minutes into the second stanza Wall had two of those attempts. After racing through the defense Wall zipped a 10-yard shot that was stopped and the senior sent the rebound wide of the net.

“I liked how we utilized the width of the field and used it to work our transition game,” Larsen said. “We also utilized our passes across the goal. We didn’t score on those passes but we did create some scoring opportunities.”

A minute later Hannah Willford fared better on her shot as she called for and took a pass, wormed through a seam among the defenders and found the upper corner of the net from 15 yards away.

The goal gave Bemidji a 3-0 advantage and, although the visitors scored with 33 minutes to go in the game, the Lumberjacks’ lead never did seem in jeopardy.

“Our play in the second half revealed that we need to work even more on possession and presence in the center,” the coach said. “We need to work on composure. At times I saw a little bit of panic and that is part of ball possession.”

Wall is Bemidji’s main offensive weapon and she had 13 of the team’s 39 shots toward the net. Bitter finished with seven shots and Rachael Holm had five.

Laura Bieberdorf tended Bemidji’s goal in the first half and Leighton Rockensock took over in the second stanza.

“In the first half we did the things that we worked on during the first two weeks of practice but in the second half we saw things that we need to improve,” Larsen said. “That will be next week’s assignment.”

The Lumberjacks return to action 7 p.m. Thursday when they host Detroit Lakes at BSU’s Chet Anderson Stadium.

Bemidji 3, Little Falls 1

Little Falls 0 1 - 1

Bemidji 2 1 - 3

First Half

B-Lalli (Wall) 15:30

B-Bitter (Bang) 32:00

Second Half

B-Willford 44:27

LF-Moran (unassisted) 46:36

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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